Derry MLA calls for formal certificate to recognise early pregnancy loss in Northern Ireland

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SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has written to the Minister of Health, Robin Swann calling for the introduction of a pregnancy loss certificate for bereaved parents who experience a miscarriage before 24-week gestation.

The provision is soon to be made available in England and will give parents the option to record their baby loss and receive a certificate of recognition.

The Foyle MLA said he was pleased to receive a “relatively positive response” from the Health Minister in which he recognises the need for improved services for women and their parents following pregnancy and baby loss.

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“A formal registration process for parents who suffer the loss of their child in early pregnancy would be a small but meaningful provision, one which myself and others including charity Sands NI have been campaigning for, for quite some time,” Mr Durkan said.

Derry MLA Mark H  Durkan. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.Derry MLA Mark H  Durkan. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Derry MLA Mark H Durkan. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

“At present there is a notable lack of support for bereaved parents, something which I’ve been working to change, including improving access to bereavement midwives as well as signposting to available aftercare and support. Unfortunately, it’s been the experience of some bereaved parents that they’ve been left in limbo, struggling with their grief in silence. Giving parents the option of a certificate to record their baby loss before 24 weeks may help validate their loss and provide comfort at a dark time.

“The rollout of the scheme across the water will afford an opportunity to inform the implementation of similar scheme for the North. I hope to see progress on this matter soon.”